Durable, weather-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing, tiles have been used to form roofs since prehistoric times. Modern roof tiles are interlocking plates made from any of a number of materials, which are assembled over a building's frame and usually nailed into place. They are found in many shapes and sizes and can be manipulated for a variety of architectural effects.
Roofing Tiles Protect Your Home
Tiles are primarily designed to protect a home from weather. When laid well and strongly built, tiles can stand up to strong winds by absorbing the brunt of the impact into small porous airspaces. Tiles are highly resistant to rain and especially hailstones, which can do severe damage to roofs made of less durable materials in climates with routinely high wind speeds. Tiles are also designed to endure fires and remain steady during earthquakes. In addition to weather and disaster protection, tiles can serve as insulation for the home.
Roof Tile Materials
The essential design of the tile has changed little over its history. The original tiles in pre-bronze-age societies were formed from simple shards of baked earthenware. Today, after over ten thousand years of use, the clay tile is still a common choice for use in roofs due to its fire-resistant properties, and such tiles are still frequently glazed in order to render them waterproof. Other common materials for tiles are porcelain, stone, and wood; a wood tile is more familiarly known as a shingle. A comparatively recent innovation is to construct tiles from concrete. Such tiles are by far the most resilient and can tolerate extremes of temperature, weather, and natural disasters, including wind speeds of up to 120 mph. Concrete roofs are sufficiently reliable that many come with manufacturers' warranties of over half a century. These tiles are obviously extremely heavy and care must be taken to ensure that a given roof can support their weight.
Laying Roof Tiles
Tiles can be laid in a variety of patterns and are found in numerous shapes, known as profiles. Most commonly they are simply placed flat and overlapped in rows. Roman tiles are gently curved and join together for a pleasing effect like rolling water. The profile known as the pantile is similar to the Roman tile, but with a more pronounced rise. Barrel tiles are semi-cylinders, usually made from clay, which are linked together into long tube-like structures. These are also frequently known as mission tiles, due to their association with colonial Spanish architecture. In addition, certain tiles are specially designed to fit into the gaps where roof pitches join.